Bleacher Report is covering Bellator 14 live at the historical Chicago Theatre in the heart of downtown. The preliminary fights are starting off at 6pm CT, followed up by the televised main card at 7pm CT.
The inaugural event is being headlined by a welterweight quarterfinal bout between undefeated wrestling sensation, Ben Askren (3-0) and UFC veteran Ryan "The Tank Engine" Thomas (10-3).
Also on the main card is three more quarterfinal tournament matches including Mike Ricci, Patrick Curran, Shad Lierley, Wilson Reis, Jame Krause, and Toby Imada.
Stay tuned for updated results and further coverage for the event.
The first prelim fight is kicking off...
6.29 - Louis Taylor (5-1) vs. Ryan Sturdy (12-4-1)
The fight was over within the first minute of action. After clinching into the cage, Taylor lands a devastating head kick that drops Sturdy onto the mat. Taylor swarms, lands a few heymakers before the ref jumps to call the fight.
Results: Taylor by TKO RD. 1
6.36 - The cage is constructed right in the middle of the stage with lighting fixtures hovering above. Behind the stage there is only a black curtain as a background. All the seating is in front of the stage. The Theater is nearly empty at the moment, only sporting a handful of people in both the lower level seats and balcony.
The setting is surreal, witnessing a modern day mixed martial arts event at such a vintage venue.
6.53 - The show is temporarily delayed due to a rumor that a fighter got sick backstage. Nobody knows which fighter, it is either Daniel Straus or Jonatas Novaes.
The crew are gearing up to go live, trashing the other prelim fight until after the televised portion.
So for the time being, I'm going to enjoy my complementary Jimmy Johns.
7.00 - Lights are dimming while a sesason two preview promo plays on a projection screen. For being a smaller crowd, the energy level is high and the fans are making plenty of noise. The first bout is Mike Ricci vs. Patrick Curran in a lightweight quarterfinal tournament bout.
Mike Ricci (5-0) vs. Patrick Curran (9-3)
7.15 - Both fighters are feeling each other out, circling around the cage. Ricci standing in the south paw stance. Curran lands a good body kick and a good amount of leg kicks.
Battling for cage control, Curran is still throwing a lot of kicks. Curran jumped in with a huge right hook right on the money, toppling Ricci in the first round.
So far the promotion is two for two in highlight finishes from the Chicago Theatre.
Result: Patrick Curran TKO RD. 1
7.24 - 3:16 Mafia is reminding everyone in attendance, while we're waiting for the next tournament bout, that "it's a fight, it's a fight" and that the fighters should hit each other with "a left or a right."
Now there is some Rage Against the Machine rallying up the fans and spectators.
Lierey is now entering the cage.
Shad Lierey (5-2) vs. Wilson Reis (9-1)
7.32 - Exchanging punches, fight goes to the ground. Shad looking for back control, Wilson gets back to his feet quickly. Both fighters throwing looping hooks with a lot of steam, each are landing. Wilson gets a nice judo throw from the clinch.
Wilson gets full mount from top position, slides in an armbar attempt. Both fighters stand up into the clinch. Shad gets his own take down off the cage, Wilson stand up easily. Clinch again, Wilson gets another take down, transitions into back control.
Both fighters are staying busy on the ground. Wilson attempts another armbar. Shad turns turns out of it.
RD. 2 - Winging punches, Shad stuffs Wilson's take down attempt. Wilson powers into Shad's guard. Wilson continues to transition into better positions. The fight doesn't last long on the feet before Wilson goes for a take down, spends a lot of time in Shad's half-guard, landing some knees to the body.
Round ends with Wilson in Shad's half-guard.
RD. 3 - Wilson starts off the round landing a combo and swinging Shad to his back, his single-leg take down continues to be successful. From the top position, Wilson pops out of Shad's guard into full guard and back again.
Wilson postures up and lands some vicious ground and pound. Shad instantly attempts to buck Wilson off, but only to end up giving him his back. Wilson finishes the fight with a rear-naked choke.
Results: Wilson Reis by rear-naked choke RD. 3 (3:32)
7.53 - Bellator fighters are performing impressively, three fights and three finishes. Every fighter has been collectively gunning for the finish, not a dull moment yet. Bravo Bellator....
8.00 - Joe Schafer TKO's Jimmy Johns in the first. Ryan Thomas just entered the ring. Ben Askren is receiving a mix of boos and cheers.
Ryan Thomas (10-3) vs. Ben Askren (3-0)
8.07 - Thomas connects with a quick combo leaving Askren grinning. Immediately, Askren goes for the take down and successfully gets Thomas to the ground. As soon as Askren gets in his guard, Thomas sinks in a triangle, Askren escapes.
The action on the ground is fierce, with quick reversals and submission attempts. Askren sinks in what appears to be a guillotine, also has one of Thomas' legs locked. The ref ends the fight, Thomas must have tapped.
Thomas storms up cursing, screaming that he didn't tap. After watching the replay, the crowd erupts in boos as everyone can clearly see he didn't tap from that vantage point. Thomas has started to yell at Bellatro CEO Bjorn Rebney, his corner is yelling at the ref. The Thomas camp is not happy with the results.
Results: Ben Askren by technical submission RD. 1
James Krause (11-2) vs. Toby Imada (24-14)
8.30 - Toby connects with a left hook, follows with a flury backing Krause into the cage. Krause comes in with a few strikes of his own only to be taken down. From the bottom position, Krause works from rubber guard as Toby postures up.
Both fighters exchange dominant positions, Krause proves to be very flexible while controlling top position for most of the time.
RD. 2 - The fight remains mostly contested on the ground, both fighters achieve take downs. Toby pushes Krause up into the cage, while in the clinch, until getting another take down. The fighters stand up, Krause gets Toby to the mat. While on the ground, both scramble until Toby secures an arm-bar for the victory.
Results: Toby Imada by arm-bar RD. 2
8.50 - That concludes the televised portion of the night, all around a huge success with nothing but finishes. The fans seem to appreciate the decision draught in the cage too, maintaing high levels of energy.
Bellator continues to put together exciting bouts, propelling their second season into the spotlight, making a splash in the mma community.